Wed. Sep 28th, 2022

DETROIT – Members of the United Auto Workers union went on strike Saturday at the Stellantis casting plant in Indiana, citing health and safety concerns including the company’s alleged refusal to repair and replace the plant’s air conditioning and heating systems.

Kokomo’s 35-acre plant produces parts used in Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep and RAM vehicle powertrains, and a long-term strike could affect vehicle assembly lines across North America.

Stellantis says production had not been scheduled for this weekend and was hoping to resume negotiations as soon as possible on a contract with the extraordinary UAW Local 1166.

In a statement, Stellantis said it is committed to ‚Äúproviding a safe and healthy working environment for all employees. After negotiating in good faith for two days and submitting an offer that we believed responded to the union’s concerns, we are disappointed with the UAW’s decision to leave. “

According to Stellantis, the 1,200-employee factory, Kokomo Casting, is the largest die casting plant in the world. Manufactures aluminum parts for components including transmissions and engine blocks.

The local UAW complained in a statement that Stellantis “claims it has no money to meet its members’ basic needs while” making record profits and investing billions in a new battery plant across the street. “

Local UAW President David Willis did not immediately respond to a phone call seeking comment. A person who answered the phone at the union offices said he was preparing for a resumption of negotiations.

The casting plant will be reorganized to produce engine blocks for hybrid-electric vehicles.

In May, Stellantis announced a $ 2.5 billion joint venture with Samsung to build an electric vehicle battery factory in Kokomo that will employ 1,400 workers.

Stellantis, formed last year by the merger of Fiat Chrysler and France’s PSA Peugeot, said it would build two electric vehicle battery factories in North America. The other is planned for Windsor, Ontario.

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